Maybe it's just a coincidence.
On Wednesday evening, in an address from the Oval Office, Donald Trump announced new steps he is taking to combat the coronavirus that the World Health Organization declared a pandemic earlier in the day.
Trump said that he is suspending all travel from 26 European nations to the U.S. for 30 days, starting Friday — with some notable exceptions: the U.K. and Ireland.
Trump didn't explain why he will continue to allow travel from those countries, which as of Wednesday had nearly 500 reported cases of the coronavirus. Other European countries like Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, and Austria have similar numbers of reported cases but are, inexplicably, not exempted.
And Trump has made it abundantly clear, throughout his time in office, how willing he is to use the power of his office to promote his own properties. Last year, during a trip to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Trump stayed at his Trump International Hotel and golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, claiming it was "convenient" to do so.
Trump's travel schedule "requires flying hundreds of miles west to Ireland, then hundreds more miles back east to France," the Washington Post reported at the time.
Of course, Trump's travel ban exemption for the U.K. and Ireland may have nothing at all to do with his properties or wanting to protect his financial interests for properties that have been operating at a loss. But if there is another explanation, Trump has yet to offer it.
A previous version of this story did not include Ireland as a nation exempted from Trump's travel ban. The nations included in the European travel ban are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.